by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“The lies began at the very top, with the president’s own words.” The President of the United States went before the American people – and the world – lied about a U.S. spy held for killing two Pakistanis, and blatantly misrepresented the laws governing diplomatic immunity. U.S. corporate media knew the “diplomat” was really a spy, but misled their readers. If respect starts with the truth, then the U.S. and its corporate media have no respect for the community of nations or its own citizens.
Freedom Rider: American Murder in Pakistan
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Davis is a CIA agent and probably an employee of Xe, once known as Blackwater.”
The inherent wrongdoing and corruption created around the world by the American empire is sometimes exemplified by a single event. Such is the case of Raymond Davis, an American who killed two Pakistanis.
On January 27th Davis was driving in Lahore when two Pakistanis on a motorbike pulled along side his car. Davis claims that one of the men was armed, and fearing a kidnapping, he shot them both in selfdefense. A mysterious group of Americans in another vehicle went to rescue Davis from a gathering crowd, and in so doing ran over and killed a third Pakistani.
These facts are not in dispute, but all else is. The United States government first refused to confirm Davis’ identity and then immediately claimed that he was a diplomat and as such had immunity from foreign prosecution. President Obama referred to him as “our diplomat in Pakistan” which was a complete and bald-faced lie.
After nearly one month of claiming that a man driving a private rented car with GPS, guns, maps and telescopes was a diplomat, the United States finally confessed to what anyone with common sense had already figured out. Davis is a CIA agent and probably an employee of Xe, once known as Blackwater. Xe is the private security firm which contracts with the United States government to send mercenaries all over the world to do America’s bidding.
The confession came about only because the foreign media, such as the British newspaper The Guardian, reported on Davis’ true status. The American media then began reporting what their overseas colleagues had already said.
“The American corporate media dutifully did what their government told them to do and they have now admitted as much.”
But the corporate media in this country were not merely following the lead of the Guardian and others. They were well aware that Davis was a CIA agent because their own government confirmed the fact to them and asked them to keep repeating the same lies. The Associated Press, the New York Times and others very dutifully did what their government told them to do and they have now admitted as much.
“The New York Times had agreed to temporarily withhold information about Mr. Davis’s ties to the agency at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk.”
That assertion too was a lie. Pakistani officials explained that Davis’ CIA role was well known in their country. He was safely in their custody and the open secret of his identity made the claims of danger entirely false.
Not only did the American government lie about Davis and his CIA ties and bully the media into spreading those lies, but they also mislead the public on what diplomatic immunity does and does not entail. The lies began at the very top, with the president’s own words.
“With respect to Mr. Davis, our diplomat in Pakistan, we've got a very simple principle here that every country in the world that is party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations has upheld in the past and should uphold in the future. And that is if -- if our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country's local prosecution.”
The relevant portion of the Vienna Convention states clearly that Pakistan is within its rights in holding Davis. “Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority.”
So the facts should not be in dispute. Davis is not entitled to immunity because he isn’t a consular official or diplomat of any sort. He was never in danger, and the media should have known that as well.
“Davis is not entitled to immunity because he isn’t a consular official or diplomat of any sort.”
Instead, for nearly one month the American people have been fed a steady stream of lies from their government, who then intimidate the press into repeating those falsehoods. Once again we see that our ability to independently gather information important to us as citizens is extremely compromised.
Pakistanis, like millions of people around the globe, live under the rule of governments who live under the rule of the United States. Their sovereignty is an illusion and their people know it. Military aid flows to those at the top, as it did in Egypt, creating a corrupt plutocracy beholden to their American masters instead of to their own people.
Pakistan has to contend with killer drones and killer Americans. We will probably never know the circumstances of the Davis killings but we do know that Pakistan will be pressured into releasing him without trial, and the Pakistani people will be angry and hate all Americans more than they do already.
So it goes with all empires. Their imperatives create many Raymond Davises and cause death and hatred all over the globe. It doesn’t change because the president is a Democrat instead of a Republican and it ends only when subject peoples demand that it does. Hopefully the Egyptian model can work for Pakistan as well.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.